Are you considering having a child through gestational surrogacy in California? Are you willing to be someone else’s gestational carrier? Regardless of your role in the process, you should hire a competent attorney who has a solid understanding of surrogacy laws in the state. California laws regulate commercial surrogacy, including gestational surrogacy, which means that all parties need to meet specific requirements to appropriately expand a family. A surrogacy lawyer can offer personalized counsel at every step of the process and represent you before a court if necessary.
#1 Guiding You Through the Surrogacy Process
In addition to the medical aspect, gestational surrogacy also involves multiple legal steps to ensure that all parties receive appropriate treatment. A surrogacy lawyer can address any questions or concerns the intended parents or the surrogate may have.
During an initial consultation, your attorney can walk you through the legal process and understand your specific situation. They can collaborate with the other party’s lawyer and the medical providers involved in the pregnancy via gestational surrogacy. Open and clear communication can make the process go as smoothly as possible in terms of legal and administrative paperwork.
#2 Drafting the Gestational Agreement
The gestational agreement is an important step in the surrogacy process. It clearly outlines what the surrogate and the prospective parents can expect. Your lawyer can help you negotiate it so it protects your rights and is mutually beneficial.
Under the California Family Code, your gestational agreement must be in writing and include different elements such as how the prospective parents cover medical care for the gestational carrier. Both parties must notarize and execute this gestational contract before the surrogate begins treatment for the embryo transfer.
#3 Protecting the Rights of the Surrogate Carrier and the Parents
Gestational surrogacy requires the amendment of parental rights as they are laid out in the Uniform Parentage Act which considers that a woman who gives birth is the child’s biological mother, and if married, her husband is considered the child’s father. Making sure that you follow the legal steps to become the legal parents of the child born via gestational surrogates plays a central role in establishing parental rights and custody.
In California, each side should have their own lawyers to protect their rights and interests during the pregnancy and after the child’s birth. Each situation is unique and for example, you need to negotiate whether the surrogate will have any presence in the child’s life even as you and possibly your partner or spouse raise the child and are the legal parents.
#4 Obtaining a Pre-Birth Order
California requires you to file a pre-birth order with a court during gestational surrogacy. It often takes place around the seventh month of pregnancy and involves different ancillary documents. Your attorney can ensure that you meet all the requirements and deadlines for this important step in the gestational surrogacy process.
A judge typically needs written testimonies from:
- The intended parent(s)
- The gestational carrier
- IVF doctor(s)
By confirming that the surrogate pregnancy is the result of an embryo transfer procedure using reproductive materials from the intended parent(s), a judge can approve legal parentage.
A pre-birth order only becomes valid upon the child’s birth when the surrogate signs it. Benefits of a pre-birth order include simplifying the creation of the birth certificate and choosing insurance coverage for the baby.
#5 Resolving Disputes
If any dispute arises concerning the pregnancy or the child’s parentage, working with an experienced lawyer can help you resolve them. Thanks to their up-to-date knowledge of the law, your attorney can recommend specific courses of action to reach a mutually beneficial agreement between the gestational carrier and the child’s legal parents.
Surrogacy cases require compassionate counsel and representation and hiring a lawyer who understands that can make a positive difference in your experience, no matter which role you have in the process. At Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law, we are here to advocate for your rights and find solutions that protect your and the child’s future.
Are you considering gestational surrogacy in the San Fernando Valley? Contact Cutter & Lax, Attorneys at Law today at (818) 839-2533 to schedule a consultation with a family law attorney!